Featured Apple says sorry for Maps, but is it too late?

For many smartphone operators, Google Maps was one of the most used applications.

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It would tap into GPS technology to locate live positions on a map, create routes, and search destinations relatively reliably.

The app came preinstalled on all iPhones, until Apple launched the new iPhone 5 and iOS6 mobile operating system, which many users with older iPhone devices downloaded.

In its latest version, Apple deleted YouTube which is owned by Google but can still be downloaded as an app, along with Google Maps, replacing it with its own Apple Maps app.

It however, has been slammed by users because it incorrectly labelled some cities and countries, misplaced some landmarks, along with some distorted images of key infrastructure.

It wasn’t up to Apple’s usual high standard, and the company knew it.

Overnight, its CEO, Tim Cook took the unusual step to post an apology on the company’s website.

He acknowledged the criticism of the new software saying, “At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers” adding, “With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment.”

Mr Cook said, as more people used Apple Maps, the better it will get.

He did however, suggest unhappy customers use competitors’ map apps in the meantime.

“While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.”

It raises the question, will Apple’s move to launch, by its own admission, an inferior replacement to Google Maps, hurt its brand?

Technology commentator, Trevor Long tells me, “Apple as a company is not used to doing things badly, Apple Maps is a disappointment to the company, and will be ‘that thing’ that pundits use to chip away at the brand for years ahead. So in that sense, there is definitely brand damage.”

“But in reality, the company is judged on a lot more than one App. The iPhone 5 is its best selling phone ever, and the financial results won’t show any indication of the ‘map problem’. The bigger question is, would this have happened under Steve Jobs, and is that a sign of future brand damage?”

The other question is, are there more teething problems with the operating system?

There is anecdotal evidence of Wi-Fi connection problems on older iPhone models running iOS6 and more frequent coverage dropouts.

Don’t forget, the other issues that came along with previous iPhone launches. The iPhone 4 had problems with its internal antenna if held in a certain way, so Apple offered a free case to try to fix that. Then the iPhone 4S disappointed some people because Siri, the voice personal assist didn’t live up to their expectations by not always understanding spoken actions.

Still, all of that hasn’t stopped enthusiasts from hitting Apple stores. Apple has sold five million iPhone 5s during the first three days in stores last week, and that doesn’t include the devices sold online.

Investors though, have sold down the stock, closing at US$667.10 on the Nasdaq overnight, down from an all time high of US$705.07 reached last week.

Have you encountered problems with the iPhone5 or iOS6?

Featured Tomahawk no certainty for Swans clash

Geelong won’t throw caution to the wind in their bid to lock up a top-two berth, with gun forward Tom Hawkins no certainty to return for Saturday’s crunch AFL clash with Sydney at Simonds Stadium.

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Hawkins missed his team’s 66-point win over West Coast due to a back injury that had been causing him increasing pain in recent weeks.

The 25-year-old struggled to even bend over a week earlier against Port Adelaide, and will be monitored closely on the training track over the next few days to determine his availability.

With just two rounds remaining, Geelong are in the box seat to finish second and secure a home qualifying final.

But they will be in danger of finishing as low as fourth if they lose to defending premiers Sydney.

Geelong coach Chris Scott is optimistic Hawkins will be fit to take on the Swans.

But Scott is adamant the high-stakes nature of the match won’t influence his decision on whether to play Hawkins.

“He’ll be OK to train early in the week and we’ll push him reasonably hard,” Scott said.

“These things can be a little bit fluid.

“The early prognosis is that he has benefited from the lighter week on the track and from some of the intervention the medical staff have used.

“By Tuesday we will have a pretty good idea as to whether he’s going to play.

“Even though the game is crucially important, we will value four weeks’ time more than this weekend as far as Tom.

“We’re optimistic, but at the same time a little cautious.”

A fit-and-firing Hawkins is vital to Geelong’s chances of winning their fourth flag since 2007.

Hawkins was a key figure in Geelong’s 2011 premiership, booting three goals and setting up another in their grand final win over Collingwood.

But even if the 197cm spearhead isn’t fully fit, Geelong have enough weapons to win the flag.

Their offensive prowess was on full display against the Eagles, with midfielder Joel Selwood continuing his impressive recent run in front of the sticks with four goals in the 16.11 (107) to 6.5 (41) triumph.

Selwood booted just 33 goals in his first 97 games.

But in the past five weeks alone, the 25-year-old has kicked 14 goals, with Geelong’s only loss during that period coming against North Melbourne in round 19 when Selwood failed to kick a goal.

Cats veteran Paul Chapman made it through another VFL hit-out on Saturday and is in line to return against the Swans, while Steven Motlop is also set to be available despite being subbed out at half-time against the Eagles with hamstring tightness.

Featured Wiggins to return to track for Olympics

Former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins is planning a return to the track ahead of the 2016 Rio Olympics, he told a British newspaper in an interview published Monday.

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Wiggins made history last year when he became the first ever Briton to win the sport’s greatest stage race, but he has since been surpassed by compatriot and Sky teammate Chris Froome, who triumphed at this year’s Grand Boucle.

Wiggins, now 33, admits he cannot challenge Froome for the Team Sky leadership and says he will now aim to add to his four Olympic gold medals.

“I’m going to continue to the next Olympics and try for a fifth gold on the track, that’s the plan,” he told the Times newspaper.

“Having lost weight and muscle the last few years, I wouldn’t be able to walk back into that team pursuit squad, so I am not taking it for granted but I am working towards that.

“It would be nice to finish the career with another Olympic gold.”

Wiggins won individual pursuit gold in 2004 in Athens and in 2008 in Beijing, where he also won the team pursuit.

In London 2012 he won the time trial on the road and he has seven Olympic medals in total dating back to a bronze in the team pursuit in Sydney in 2000.

However, he says he will spend another season riding on the road before making the change in 2015, giving himself 18 months to prepare for the Olympics.

And although he previously said he would not ride another Tour, he now feels he would be prepared to be Froome’s domestique.

“I don’t mind admitting that Chris is probably a better Grand Tour rider than me,” he said.

“He is a much better climber, he can time trial as well.

“He has age on his side, he has no kids. That’s fine.

“If Chris wants to, he could potentially win five tours now. So if I want to win another tour, I’d probably have to leave the team (Sky).

“I love this team. This is my home. I’m not going to go: ‘I want to be leader so I’m off’.”

Wiggins missed the defence of his Tour crown due to injury and illness.

He had pulled out of the Giro d’Italia in May due to illness and then a knee injury disrupted his preparations for the Tour.

Up until that point he had insisted he wanted to lead Team Sky in France, even though boss Dave Brailsford had publically backed Froome for the role.

But Wiggins claimed he was always prepared to follow team orders.

“At this team, everyone is encouraged to be as good as they can be,” he said.

“I felt, as the defending champion, I was quite entitled to put my hand up and say ‘I would like to be considered for the leadership’.

“But if someone is chosen over me I am professional enough to do my job.”

Raiders deny Ferguson wants out

Don Furner has had enough of his players being linked with rival NRL clubs, with the Canberra chief executive adamant NSW Origin star Blake Ferguson is going nowhere.

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A frustrated Furner said he was at a loss to explain a report in Wednesday’s Daily Telegraph that suggested Ferguson wanted out on the final two years of his contract – claiming he was desperate to be closer to cousin Anthony Mundine in Sydney.

Mundine played a crucial role in getting Ferguson’s career back on track, taking the Raiders star under his wing during a NRL-imposed suspension to address alcohol-related issues.

But both Mundine and Furner admitted they had no knowledge of Ferguson having a desire to quit the Raiders, Furner clearly irked at the suggestion having spent the past couple of months refuting suggestions rookie of the year candidate Anthony Milford and Test prop David Shillington were also on the way out of the club.

“I’ve spent all day denying something … I don’t know how it can happen,” Furner told AAP.

“Anthony Milford, he’s under contract. A couple of weeks ago it was David Shillington’s signed with the Broncos … how can he sign? He’s under contract.”

Asked if he had felt the need to speak to Ferguson about his future, Furner said: “No. Not unless he’s got a problem.”

Mundine, who spoke with Ferguson two days ago, said he had no knowledge of Ferguson seeking a release from the Raiders.

“I don’t even know the situation – it’s news to me,” Mundine told Fairfax Media.

“The time he spent with me really gave him a sense of direction and made him mature mentally. He learned a lot about himself.

“He really enjoyed that – that’s probably why people are hearing these things.”

Don Furner said coach David Furner enjoyed a good relationship with Mundine, adding that Ferguson’s desire to extend his representative career could also be aided by him staying in the nation’s capital.

“If he’s going to be in the frame for the Australian side at the end of the year, well Dave’s the assistant (Australian) coach,” Don Furner said.

“Dave more than anyone will be the one pushing him to Tim Sheens.”

While the Raiders boss was refusing to give the idea much credit, former Canberra skipper Alan Tongue conceded losing the likes of Ferguson and Milford would not go down well with fans.

The lime green faithful already have to contend with sacked duo Todd Carney and Josh Dugan reviving their careers with other clubs to the point where they were representing NSW.

“It’s definitely unsettling for the Raiders – I think it’s something that they would be frustrated with,” Tongue said.

“Especially with Anthony Milford who they’ve had for a number of years through their system.

“They finally get him there and he’s shown he’s the exciting talent that everyone thought he would be and the Raiders have persisted with him, only to lose him to another club is devastating.

“… it happens everywhere, but I suppose we just see it at the Raiders more often than not.”

Despite being stood down for a week after the opening round of the season due to an alcohol-related offence, the Raiders showed faith in Ferguson by handing him a new two-year deal in May, a month before he earned his first State of Origin jumper.

He was due to earn a second Blues appearance before the boozy night out which led to his suspension and an assault charge which is still before the courts.

Anti-whaling activists claim Antarctic success

Anti-whaling activists claim Japan’s whaling season in the Antarctic is over, and it’s the result of their disruptions in the Southern Ocean.

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The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has accused Japanese whaling ship the Nisshin Maru of ramming its vessels as the protesters tried to prevent the whaler from refuelling.

 

The Japanese government-backed Institute of Cetacean Research has since announced that it’s stopped work for the time being because it’s too difficult to refuel.

 

Kerri Worthington reports.

 

The stand-off in the Southern Ocean may be over for now after a dramatic day between the Sea Shepherd fleet and the Japanese whalers they’ve been stalking.

 

“Keep away from Nisshin Maru. This is Japanese coast guard official onboard Nisshin Maru. I warn you, stop all your disruptive actions immediately. Keep away from Nisshin Maru.”

 

The environmental campaigners say the Nisshin Maru rammed its vessels in their worst confrontation in the Southern Ocean in three years.

 

Sea Shepherd claims the Japanese factory boat had deliberately collided with the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker — allegations denied by Japan.

 

But captain of the Bob Barker , Peter Hammarstedt, says the Japanese whaler’s actions were the most dangerous and reckless he’s ever seen.

 

“Had the Nisshin Maru pushed us any further, there was a risk of the vessel rolling over. What that would have meant is that we would have quite literally sunk. So we were in a position where we could have had to potentially abandon ship in what is the most remote and frigid waters down here in the Southern Ocean.”

 

However Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research has suggested it was the activists’ boats that rammed the Japanese ship.

 

The Institute has called the Sea Shepherd campaign unforgivable and akin to terrorism that threatens human life at sea.

 

Sea Shepherd is calling on Australia’s government to dispatch the navy to the Southern Ocean to intervene.

 

Former Australian Greens leader, now Sea Shepherd director, Bob Brown says he believes the captain of the Japanese whaling ship has breached international law.

 

Mr Brown has told Sky News whales are protected under the Antarctic Treaty, and a policing force is needed to enforce that protection.

 

“And Australia needs to be moving to establish an international policing force if it won’t do it itself to protect those laws and to protect those values which have been agreed to by the community of nations over decades. As it is we’ve got a buccaneer country, the Japanese government, trespassing all over those laws, treading them into the ground as we saw yesterday for some commercial advantage, even though they’re running this whaling operation at a massive loss and there’s five tonnes of whale meat in storehouse in Tokyo that they can’t sell.”

 

But the Federal Government has ruled out sending a navy ship to keep watch in Antarctic waters

 

Defence Minister Stephen Smith says the government has in the past sent a ship to collect video and photographic evidence of whaling hunts to build a case before the International Court of Justice.

And Environment minister Tony Burke told the ABC governments should settle conflicts through the courts.

 

“When people say that we should have the navy and we should be asserting territorial waters in that Antarctic region, can I just urge people to pause for thought at the implications of that. Part of the Antarctic Treaty system is that countries will not assert their territorial claims against each other. That treaty system is the underpinning of making sure we don’t have mining in the Antarctic. And regardless of how offensive Japan’s behaviour is in the Southern Ocean at the moment, it would be an extraordinary action for Australia to start the process of blowing up the Antarctic Treaty system.”

 

But Mr Burke says the Maritime Safety Authority is investigating the latest incident.

 

And he’s warned that claims Japan’s 2013 whaling season is over are premature.

 

“Japan is going from one side of our planet to the other to chase species that are meant to be protected, magnificent species that the rest of the world has put a moratorium on the commercial slaughter of. If they’ve stopped for a few months and are still intending to come back, then I really don’t think there’s a lot to celebrate yet.”

 

However, Bob Barker captain Peter Hammarstedt says this could be the Sea Shepherd’s most successful campaign in Antarctic, having prevented the Japanese from taking 95 per cent of their quota.

 

“It’ll be the third year in a row that we’ve bankrupted the Japanese whaling fleet. We would have prevented hundreds and hundreds of whales from being slaughtered. Certainly these poachers, or thugs, are motivated by profit only and what we’re able to do is take away that profit motive by putting our ships in the way and risking our lives to protect these animals. So I think we could be very well on our way to stopping whaling here once and for all.”

 

 

Meteor show to light up British skies

The skies above Britain are expected to shimmer with a “natural firework display” as a meteor shower crosses into the earth’s atmosphere, astronomy experts have predicted.

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Although the Perseids meteor shower is an annual event, the Royal Astronomical Society believes prospects for this year’s showing are particularly good and could mean up to 60 shooting stars an hour in the UK.

Stargazers will need only their own eyes to enjoy the natural occurrence, which is a result of material falling from the tail of Comet Swift-Tuttle, which last passed near the Earth in 1992.

“Comet Swift-Tuttle won’t be visiting our neck of the woods again until the year 2125, but every year we get this beautiful reminder as the Earth ploughs through the debris it leaves in its orbit,” said Professor Alan Fitzsimmons of Queen’s University Belfast.

“Every meteor is a speck of comet dust vaporising as it enters our atmosphere at 36 miles per second. What a glorious way to go.”

The best display will last from late Monday night (Tuesday AEST) through to early Tuesday morning local time, with weather conditions expected to be favourable.

“It’s looking pretty good for people to have a chance to see the meteor shower across large parts of the country, including the London area, with a lot of clear skies expected on Monday night,” said Matt Dobson, a forecaster with MeteoGroup, the weather division of the Press Association.

“The best thing for stargazers to do is obviously to get away from any sources of light in big cities.”

Meteors, commonly known as shooting stars, are the result of small particles entering the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed.

These heat the air around them, causing the characteristic streak of light seen from the ground.

The Perseids meteor shower is active each year from around mid-July to late-August, but for most of that period only a few meteors an hour will be visible.

People looking out for the meteors may also get a glimpse of larger “fireballs”, according to Brendan Owens, an astronomer at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich.

He said the Earth would pass through the comet’s trail like a snowplough, with material of different sizes being trapped by the planet’s gravity. The larger material may fall to earth as meteorites.

“If people are extremely lucky, we can see some fireballs, which are large chunks that burn up but don’t completely burn up,” he said.

“Sometimes it ends up with meteorites. There is a possibility of meteorite impact but it is very small.”

Multicultural ‘player ambassadors’ for AFL

The Australian Football League is stepping up its efforts to connect more with people of migrant backgrounds through a team of ‘multicultural player ambassadors’.

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The 11 players will complement the work of the AFL’s 10 multicultural officers around Australia.

 

They will work with the League’s Multicultural Unit, which aims to boost the number of players in the AFL from non-English speaking backgrounds through school programs.

 

The AFL says about 14 percent of its players are from non-English speaking backgrounds, and about 11 percent are Indigenous.

 

Bachar Houli, who plays for Richmond, says he’s honoured to be one of the new multicultual player ambassadors.

 

“We’ve got a great team here from different backgrounds and the main thing is we want to really focus on participation in sport in general. So it’s a great role that we’re involved and it’s a massive opportunity to get all these kids off the street to be involved in some sort of sport.”

 

Houli is from a Muslim background and as a player ambassador, will work to create sport programs in Islamic schools throughout Australia.

 

He says he is focused on being a good role model for children of all ethnic backgrounds.

 

“I’m also just teaching them about life. About embracing how lucky we are to live in this country and the other side of it is obviously teaching them respect and what respect means.”

 

Joel Wilkinson, whose father is from Nigeria, plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the A-F-L.

 

Wilkinson will lead a program in Queensland, which he says will promote equality among children.

 

“We’re all having fun. So no matter what team they’re on, they’re enjoying the game. We’re not about secluding and putting a group there or a cultural group there, it’s about embracing everyone as one and using this game to promote equality, diversity and have fun.”

 

Majak Daw is a refugee from Sudan and in 2009 he became the first Sudanese to be drafted by an A-F-L team.

 

Daw, who plays for North Melbourne, says he hopes his success on the field can be an inspiration to young players.

 

“I think I hopefully set a good example for my brothers and sisters. I’m one of nine children and I think the biggest passion of mine is giving back to the community and my mum and dad are really big advocates of helping other people out.”

 

Ruling party holds on in Cambodia

The ruling party of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has claimed victory in the country’s national elections but appears to have lost more than 20 seats.

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And that comes despite the opposition leader being barred from running.

 

It’s the fifth election since a United Nations intervention in 1993 that effectively ended the country’s civil war and imposed democracy.

 

But the latest poll, like those that have gone before it, has been marred by allegations of widespread irregularities.

 

Kerri Worthington has the story.

 

Although official results are yet to be announced, the Prime Minister’s Cambodian People’s Party says it expects to take 68 out of the 123 seats in the country’s lower house.

The Hun Sen-led CPP had 90 seats in the previous parliament, so, if confirmed, the result would mark the loss of more than 20 seats.

The opposition’s resurgence has taken Cambodia analysts by surprise because the leader of the main opposition party returned from exile little more than a week before the polls.

 

The return of the Cambodia National Rescue Party’s Sam Rainsy is thought to have boosted his party’s vote, even though he was not allowed to be a candidate.

 

South-east Asia expert Milton Osborne, a non-resident fellow at the Lowy Institute, says he expected some loss of CPP seats but losing 20 to the main opposition is significant.

 

“I don’t think that Hun Sen is suddenly going to change his policies or that he will do as some people have been suggesting in Cambodia, to try and form a coalition with the opposition parties. My take, certainly, on things as they stand at the moment is that the CPP will be determined to continue holding power. On the votes as they stand at the moment, he certainly is entitled to hold power.”

 

Hun Sen has ruled since 1985, when he defected from the communist Khmer Rouge and was installed in power by the Vietnamese.

 

He oversaw Cambodia’s transformation from a nation devastated by its so-called Killing Fields genocidal era in the late 1970s to become a growing economy.

 

But Youhorn Chea, of the Cambodian Association of Victoria, says, despite the appearance of a vibrant economy, Cambodia has a massive disparity in wealth.

 

“Because I still have a distant relative who lives in Cambodia as well, (I know) some (people) just work to get less than one dollar per day and they still live in very, very poor conditions. So the government should do something.”

 

Youhorn Chea says the youth of Cambodia want change and the election results have shown they are beginning to get their way.

 

Milton Osborne backs that view.

 

He says young, urban Cambodians voted overwhelmingly for the opposition and that has considerable implications for the next elections.

 

But Dr Osborne cautions it is too soon to dismiss Hun Sen’s future as a force in Cambodian politics.

 

“I think he has a very determined intention of staying in power. And while there are many things that can be levelled against Hun Sen and his government by way of criticism, the fact that this is so should not blind us to the fact that he is a very clever politician and has some very considerably able people working with him.”

 

The buoyant Cambodia National Rescue Party says it rejects the poll results, decrying what it describes as the kingdom’s worst-ever poll irregularities.

 

It has called for setting up an investigation committee with representatives from the political parties, the United Nations, the election authority and non-governmental organisations.

 

Sam Rainsy, the party’s leader, says he wants the election result to truly reflect the will of the people.

 

“What we are interested in is to render justice to the Cambodian people, to ensure that the will of the Cambodian people will not be distorted or reversed as before.”

 

The United States has voiced concern about possible irregularities in the weekend elections and has called for a credible investigation.

 

But State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki says the US government urges all parties and their supporters to continue acting in an orderly and peaceful manner.

“We are concerned by numerous reported irregularities in the electoral process. We have consistently called on the Royal Government of Cambodia to address systemic flaws, such as problems in the voter registry and unequal access to the media. We call for a transparent and full investigation of all credible reports of irregularities.”

 

There have been reports of violence at polling stations, supposedly indelible ink coming off people’s fingers and electoral-roll irregularities.

 

But the Lowy Institute’s Milton Osborne says Asian election monitors on the ground have reported the elections were free and fair.

 

“They’re part of an Asian democratic group from (South) Korea, from Malaysia, from Laos — I think there were others as well — and they have reported that the election was free and fair. Now, given Cambodia’s tortured history, it’s entirely possible that there have been irregularities, and there have also been claims that various people were excluded from the voting lists. I think these are complaints which will go on for some time. At least at the moment, I don’t think they’re going to alter the result or lead to any change in the pattern that has emerged.”

 

Youhorn Chea, of the Cambodian Association of Victoria, suggests Cambodia’s democracy needs to reflect the wishes of a wider range of its citizens but also the diaspora.

He says many in the local Cambodian community would have liked to vote in the elections because they maintain a key interest in the country.

 

He says he would like to see changes in the future.

 

“Perhaps in the constitution, we need to have that the prime minister should be just two terms. Two terms is 10 years already. Like, in the USA, it’s much, much better. Otherwise, just the one person sits in the government for over 20 years. It’s too much.” (laughs)

 

Jihadists claim rocket attack on Israel

A group of jihadist fighters say they have fired a Grad rocket on the Israeli Red Sea town of Eilat in retaliation for an alleged Israeli air raid.

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The Mujahideen Shura Council said in a statement published on a jihadist forum its fighters fired the rocket at 1am (0900 AEST) on Tuesday.

The statement did not say whether the rocket attack caused any damage or injuries.

The rocket, fired from the Sinai, was “a quick response to the last crime by the Jews after one of their drones bombed the Sinai peninsula killing four mujahideen” on Friday.

Another jihadist group, Egypt’s Ansar Beit al-Maqdis which has claimed allegiance to al-Qaeda and repeated attacks on Israeli targets, has blamed the Jewish state for the Friday strike.

The group accused the Egyptian army of co-ordinating the attack with Israel, and threatened more strikes against the Jewish state.

“How can the Egyptian army allow the Zionist unmanned planes to cross into Egyptian territory,” the statement asked.

Egypt’s military has denied the claim.

“There is no truth whatsoever to any Israeli strikes inside Egyptian territory and the claim that there is Egyptian and Israeli co-ordination on the matter is utterly baseless,” military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Aly said in a statement on Friday.

Officials told AFP the strike came from the Egyptian military, as part of their campaign to curtail a surge in violence and rein in militant activity in the lawless Sinai.

The state owned Al-Ahram newspaper and the official news agency MENA reported on Saturday that Egyptian military aircraft conducted the strike, quoting anonymous security officials.

Witnesses said Egyptian military helicopters hovered above the site after the blasts.

McCullough granted compassionate leave

The death of a friend ensured Andrew McCullough was a training no show on Tuesday but the Broncos hooker is expected to run out for Sunday’s crunch NRL clash against St George Illawarra.

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Alarm bells were ringing when McCullough was not sighted at Brisbane’s afternoon session along with the club’s resting Origin contingent of skipper Sam Thaiday, Justin Hodges, Matt Gillett and Corey Parker.

However, a Broncos official revealed McCullough had been granted compassionate leave after learning upon completing the morning training session that a friend had died from an illness.

But the Broncos official remained hopeful that McCullough would play after being named as starting rake for their first afternoon home game in more than 12 months.

Along with Brisbane’s Origin contingent, ex-Test prop Ben Hannant was named in the starting side after overcoming a long running calf complaint.

Last round’s frustrating 18-all draw in Newcastle marked only Hannant’s second game in 12 weeks.

He earns a rare starting front-row berth alongside the in-form Josh McGuire after Mitchell Dodds succumbed to a knee injury.

Broncos coach Anthony Griffin brought ex-Sydney Rooster Lama Tasi into the 17 and named three more forwards on an extended bench – Scott Anderson, Jarrod Wallace and Nick Slyney.

The 12th-placed Brisbane must win their final five games to have any hope of remaining in the top eight mix.

Broncos utility David Stagg said that was enough to give his side a glimmer of hope ahead of the Dragons clash.

“We are still in a position where we are a chance,” he said.

“We will just keep putting our best foot forward and start by getting the result we need this weekend.”

Still, speculation swirling around Brisbane has focussed on next season after Bulldogs superstar Ben Barba and Canberra rising star Anthony Milford were linked to the club.

It would be a welcome selection headache for Griffin who would need to find another backline option for his in-form fullback Josh Hoffman if the two star No.1s lobbed next year.

But Stagg would not speculate on their arrival no matter how exciting the prospect.

“You know more than I do obviously,” Stagg said.

“There is plenty of speculation at the moment but that is something for 2014 – we still have 2013 to finish off.

“There is still a lot for us to achieve before we start worrying about that.”

Former Queensland utility Stagg was not so coy on his own future, saying he was keen to run around again in 2014.

“I have not had much luck with injuries over the years but I tell myself it has prolonged my career,” said Stagg, who has played 195 NRL games since his 2003 debut.

New radio schedule reflects changing Australia

The new schedule for the SBS Radio network will officially start on April 29.

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It was announced late last year, after a review that showed there was a need for SBS Radio to introduce new language programs to reflect changing demographics in Australia.

 

The last time SBS embarked on such a review was in 1994, and SBS says the changes in programming are required so that the broadcaster can better fulfill its Charter which requires SBS to broadcast programs that reflect Australia’s multicultural society.

 

The new schedule also includes expanded programming for some communities with growing numbers of migrants, particularly from parts of Asia and Africa.

 

Peggy Giakoumelos reports.

 

 

SBS has expanded the total number of languages it offers to listeners from 68 to 74, and it continues to be the most multilingual broadcaster in the world.

 

There are three new African languages with growing migrant and refugee communities – Dinka, Swahili and Tigrinya.

 

The other three are the Asian languages Malayalam, Hmong and Pashto.

 

Pashto is the native language of the Pashtun people and is spoken in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and India.

 

Malayalam is principally spoken in the south Indian state of Kerala, while Hmong is spoken in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand.

 

SBS Audio and Language Content Director Mandi Wicks says a lot has happened since the announcement was made late last year.

 

“Since we announced the new radio schedule at the end of November a huge amount of work has gone into communicating to the community groups and to our audiences that we will be changing on the 29th of April. We’ve had many, many meetings and a lot of correspondence with our listeners and that’s really our primary focus now is to ensure that all our listeners understand the changes we’re making, when their program times will be and to ensure that we will be able to transition them across to those new times.”

 

The new SBS Radio Schedule was developed using language selection criteria supported by the 2011 Census relating to second languages spoken in the home.

 

The data shows the Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking communities have grown, which has resulted in an increase in their combined broadcasting time from 16 to 28 hours per week under the new schedule.

 

The Hindi program has also increased its broadcasting time from three to seven hours and the Punjabi program will broadcast its program five times per week, compared with once a week under the current schedule.

 

Larger languages with more broadcast hours had to have at least 20 thousand people who identified in the Census as speaking a second language.

 

The communities with the largest populations – Cantonese and Mandarin, Arabic, Vietnamese, Greek and Italian – will all broadcast 14 hours of programming every week.

 

These larger programs will now broadcast one two-hour program every day, rather than two one-hour programs in the morning and the evening.

 

They will also have a fixed timeslot every day, making it easier for listeners to remember when to tune in.

 

All languages on the new schedule have to have at least one-thousand speakers, and 21 programs will be shifting from analogue to a digital-only format.

 

Mandi Wicks says while the changes have occurred without having to shut down any existing programs, the process has still been difficult for programs which have seen their hours reduced because of changing demographics.

 

“We have spent many hours talking with community groups to explain the process and the outcome that we have reached with the new radio schedule. Hundreds of hours have been spent speaking to community groups and responding to community inquiries about the changes in hours. It has been a really difficult process but at the end of the day this is a process that hasn’t been done in 20 years. So we feel that it is very much the right thing to be doing so that we can be absolutely sure that SBS Radio reflects today’s Australia.”

 

In determining the make-up of the new schedule, SBS also looked at a number of other factors, including the level of English language proficiency in a particular language group, the level of unemployment and the proportion of recent arrivals.

 

It also factored in the number of refugees and the level of vilification faced by a particular community within Australia, based upon complaints received by the Australian Human Rights Commission.

 

The changes have been welcomed by the nation’s largest migrant community group – the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia.

 

FECCA chairman Pino Migliorino explains.

 

“I think the reality is, is that it’s been a long, long time since the last rescheduling so there was a sense that organisations and communities have actually gotten used to the amount of airtime that they have. It’s a really precious commodity. I think it stands SBS in great stead that there’s such concern about losing any hours because of such an important part of community life. So as I’ve said on other occasions in terms of FECCA’s position, we’ve certainly not taken a position on which languages should or should not be in, but more in terms of the methodology that we believe needs to reflect the population shifts and changes and I think SBS has adopted a very strong methodology as well as indicating that it will review on a regular basis, so we don’t get these longer term anomalies developing into the future.”

 

Some of the communities that will be broadcasting on SBS Radio for the first time say they believe the move will benefit many newly-arrived migrants and refugees as they settle into Australia.

 

Originally from South Sudan, translator David Chiengkou speaks Dinka, one of the six new languages added to the new radio schedule.

 

He believes the new program is an important turning point for the Dinka-speaking community.

 

“They have always been looking for something that will engage them in terms of issues happening in Australia, in terms of news, in terms of anything to update them. So the introduction will be a milestone because it will just validate that society needs them, not just seeing them maybe as refugees, even if some of them are mostly Australian citizens. It was something that was the right decision.”

 

You can find more information about the new schedule at sbs.com.au/radio.

 

From April 29, World News Australia on SBS Radio will be broadcast at 6am and 6pm on weekdays.

 

 

 

Aust tops junior track champs medal tally

Australia’s cycling future looks bright after topping the medal tally with six gold at the junior track world championships in Glasgow.

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Joshua Harrison and Sam Welsford were unlucky to be forced to settle for a bronze medal in a crash-filled men’s madison on the final night of competition to bring Australia’s total medal tally to 12 – including one silver and five bronze.

Germany finished second with four gold, ahead of Great Britain’s three and France with two.

Welsford suffered a heavy fall moments after claiming the second intermediate sprint, forcing Harrison to carry the load while he was checked by doctors.

Despite his gallant return, Denmark and New Zealand took advantage to finish first and second respectively.

The news was just as bad for South Australian Pat Constable, who was taken to hospital with a broken collarbone after clipping the wheel of his opponent in the second heat of his men’s sprint semi-final.

Constable had looked well in contention for a spot in the gold medal final but had to take fourth.

Team manager Rik Fulcher said he was very happy with the performance of his relatively young and inexperienced group.

“It was unfortunate to end on that note, but that wasn’t really any fault of performances,” Fulcher said.

“(The falls) could have cost us two gold medals with Pat (Constable) well on his way (in the sprint), and the boys in the Madison were dominating and were far and away the most aggressive.

“But that’s racing. These things happen and overall we are very happy.”

Australia won its first three gold medals on the opening day of competition with victory in the under-19 men’s team pursuit, under-19 women’s team sprint and under-19 men’s team sprint.

Zac Shaw also claimed gold in the men’s individual pursuit, alongside Lauren Perry in the women’s 3000m individual pursuit and Jack Edwards in the omnium.

Nelson to host first ODI on West Indies tour

The city at the top of New Zealand’s South Island was one of seven venues chosen to host pool matches for cricket’s global showcase, which will be co-hosted by New Zealand and Australia.

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Nelson had never hosted a men’s international match before it was included in the tournament schedule and the West Indies tour will give the city the opportunity to test the venue at Saxton Oval.

“To bring international cricket to our region has been a goal for many years and achieving this is a moment of real pride for all those involved in developing cricket and the facilities in the region,” Nelson Cricket Association general manager Ed Shuttleworth said in a statement.

“The legacy of international cricket will be significant with participation increasing and kids being inspired by seeing the Black Caps in their home town.”

West Indies will play three tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals on the tour, which runs from December 3 – January 15, 2014, across the majority of New Zealand’s summer holiday period.

The timing of the tour had prompted New Zealand Cricket to schedule three of the ODIs in holiday ‘hot spots’ in Napier (December 29), Queenstown (January 1) and Nelson (January 4).

“It will be fantastic to see the Black Caps playing in these hot spots and we’re hopeful the holiday crowds will be out in force to support their national side,” NZC chief executive David White said.

All three test matches will be played back-to-back in the three boutique venues at University Oval in Dunedin, the Basin Reserve in Wellington and Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Tour itinerary:

December 3-7 1st test, Dunedin

December 11-15 2nd test, Wellington

December 19-23 3rd test, Hamilton

December 26 1st ODI, Auckland

December 29 2nd ODI, Napier

January 1 3rd ODI, Queenstown

January 4 4th ODI, Nelson

January 8 5th ODI, Hamilton

January 11 1st Twenty20, Auckland

January 15 2nd Twenty20, Wellington

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Peter Rutherford)